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India for flexibility from developed countries

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Jun 6: India may have to go back on its offers in WTO negotiations on services if the developed countries do not respond with flexibility, Commerce Secretary S N Menon said today.

Inaugurating a seminar on ''Doha Round: Developing Countries and Services Negotiations'' Mr Menon said as regards modalities for completion of the Doha Round India was still hopeful that some kind of a breakthrough could be possible at the WTO meeting at Geneva by the end of this month.

''Hope July 2006 may correct the imbalances,'' he said Asserting, ''India has remained a multilateral player'', Mr Menon said, ''Doha round is not only a market excess round for the country'', hoping that it will be a balanced one.

The Commerce Secretary said the services industry plays a very important role in the economic development of India. The telecom, finance, maritime, education and constructions are the key sectors of interest for India, he added.

Counsellor in India's Permanent Mission to the WTO Sumanta Chaudhuri said there were still differences in the levels of ambitions both overall and specific elements.

However, there is a forward movement on the textual language proposals, he said.

WTO Deputy Director General Harsha Vardhana Singh called India a ''powerhouse, which has a long way to go'' and said it is playing a leading role in the negotiations.

''Once the the modalities in agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access) are achieved, negotiations in the services would progress at a fast pace'' he said.

He, however, urged the countries to ''stay connected with the negotiations so that they are not caught unprepared.'' Meanwhile, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) Senior Fellow Arpita Mukherjee said performance and global competitiveness of the sector determines India's negotiation position.

Indian service providers are facing several barriers in markets of export interest, she further pointed out.


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